Hand and Aerial Ignitions Continue on Cuervito Fire

SANTA FE, NM – May 17, 2021 – The Type 3 Incident Management Team (IMT) in command of the lightning-caused Cuervito Fire on the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) is continuing with both hand and aerial ignitions today as part of a management strategy to use low- to moderate-intensity fire to reduce the hazardous build-up of heavy vegetation, including dead and down timber and needle litter on the forest floor.

Location:  9 miles east of Pecos and 3 miles southwest of the Barillas Lookout on the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District

Start Date:  May 9, 2021

Size:  Approximately 1,300 acres with the potential for approximately 1,600 acres

Cause:  Lightning

Resources Assigned:  4 hand crews, 5 engines, 2 dozers, 1 masticator, 1 water tender and 1 type 3 helicopter. Some resources will be released from the fire at the end of shift today.

Fuels:  Ponderosa pine, piñon-juniper, Douglas fir and oak brush

Operations:  Today’s operations are focused on the southern half of the planning area with hand crews working along the fire’s perimeter and aerial ignitions continuing in the interior. The Cuervito Fire is being managed to achieve significant benefits on the ground, including a healthier forest and reduced risk of future high-severity wildfire.

Weather:  The front that moved in overnight brings a 70% chance of precipitation with slightly cooler temperatures today. Partly cloudy skies with a chance of rain showers and thunderstorms will continue into tonight with shifting winds in the 10 to 15 mph range. A low pressure system is expected to cross the state Tuesday, bringing more widespread showers and thunderstorms.

Values at risk:  Firefighter and public safety is always the number-one priority for the IMT. Values at risk include private property nearby.

Smoke:  Smoke management is a key part of the planning and implementation of managed wildfire. Smoke from the Cuervito Firemay impact the communities of Santa Fe, Pecos, Las Vegas, Rowe, Glorieta, La Cueva, North and South San Ysidro, Ilfeld, San Jose, San Juan, Tecolote, Soham, Ribera, Serafina, Bernal, Anton Chico, Mineral Hill, San Geronimo and Pablo as well as the I-25 corridor and the Pecos National Historical Park.

Safety:  Smoke-sensitive individuals and people with respiratory problems or heart disease are encouraged to take precautionary measures. Information on air quality and protecting your health can be found online at the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) website. Information on the Forest Stewards Guild’s HEPA Filter Loan Program is available here.

Fire updates will be posted on the SFNF website, New Mexico Fire Information website, Inciweb and on the Santa Fe National Forest Facebook page and Twitter @SantafeNF.

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